4. Jim Frey
Jim Frey managed the Kansas City Royals for a season and a half. While his tenure was not even close to the longest in franchise history, one would be heard pressed to find another manager that was as successful.
During Frey’s first season with the Royals, in 1980, they finally broke through against their rivals, the New York Yankees. For much of the late 1970’s, the Royals and Yankees would meet in the postseason, only to see the Bronx Bombers emerge victorious. This changed in 1980, when the Royals finally broke through, sweeping the Yankees and ending Dick Howser‘s time in New York (more on him later).
Yet, that run to the World Series did not lead to a long tenure with the Royals. In fact, Frey lasted into the following year, fired twenty games after the player’s strike in 1981 ended. At the time, the Royals were 10-10, but were in first place because of the split season. Ironically, Frey ended up being replaced by Howser who was likewise let go after a successful first season managing.
Would the Kansas City Royals have been better served to be more patient with Jim Frey? It is certainly an interesting topic to debate. Yet, even though his tenure lasted under two years, Frey left his mark on the Royals.